Court of Justice Scores Another Judicial "Reform"
The Court of Justice answered questions from the Supreme Administrative Court regarding the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court by the new National Council of the Judiciary (NCJ).
In 2018, shortly after the election of the members of the new NCJ, those in power wanted to quickly fill as many positions in the Supreme Court as possible - including by limiting the possibility of appealing the results of the competition.
The Luxembourg court examined three issues: whether the government can take action to prevent the CJEU from answering questions from the Supreme Administrative Court; whether the design of the nomination procedure for the Supreme Court can affect the independence of that court; and whether judicial candidates should have the right to appeal to the court.
The Court held that those in power cannot deliberately change the law in such a way as to prevent the Supreme Administrative Court from answering questions.
The Court in Luxembourg has made it clear that Member States have a duty to ensure the independence of the judiciary, including as regards the appointment of judges.
According to the CJEU, while EU law does not always require judicial candidates to have a right of appeal, in a situation such as that arising in the Supreme Court competition, the existence of an appeal is necessary to dispel doubts about the independence of the persons appointed as a result of such recruitment.
According to the CJEU, since the Polish law provided for the possibility of appealing a resolution of the new NCJ, the authority could not introduce changes that would render the law ineffective or ostensible.
Now the CJEU's answer will have to be applied by the Supreme Administrative Court.
Contact the author:
Patryk Wachowiec, FOR Legal Analyst
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